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HindustanTimes Mon,01 Sep 2014

India-China DGMO hotline stuck in cold modalities

Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 15, 2013
First Published: 00:47 IST(15/11/2013) | Last Updated: 01:20 IST(15/11/2013)

India has diplomatically rejected China’s proposal of including army representatives from both sides in the existing mechanism for resolving army-to-army issues rather than having a hotline between military operations directorates in Delhi and Beijing.

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Currently a joint secretary-level Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs between the two foreign ministries tackles such issues. It will meet in New Delhi next month.

South Block sources said there was no closure on proposed hotline between the two Directors General of Military Operations (DGMO) as Beijing wants Indian DGMO to be in touch with People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Headquarters of either Lanzhou or Chengdu military regions—both responsible for handling the defence of 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries. 

In this context, Beijing wanted a representative each from PLA and Indian Army as a deputy in the Working Mechanism and equipped with a hotline to defuse any tensions due to the disputed boundary issue. 

The Indian assessment is that Chinese foreign ministry wants PLA to keep it in the loop rather than independently handling the border flare-ups directly with Indian Army. However, India has rejected this proposal and wants China to designate a senior PLA general in the Military Headquarters in Beijing to have a hotline with DGMO, Army Headquarters in Delhi.

The counter proposal was moved as PLA does not have a position of DGMO in the Military Headquarters and each Military Region is responsible for its own operations.

While DGMO-level hotline is work in progress, the opening of a new border personnel meeting point in Kibuthu has run into logistics problems, with PLA wanting to shift the flag meeting point away from Bum La in Arunachal Pradesh due to distances and forces involved. Both these issues will be discussed in the next meeting of the Working Mechanism.

While India and China have signed an MoU on trans-border rivers during PM Manmohan Singh’s trip last month, already there are grumblings within ministry of water resources over the agreement. 

All the new MoU does is extend the date of China handing over Brahamputra river hydrological data for another 15 days.

Instead of China sharing Brahmaputra data from June 1 to October 15, the MoU extends it to May 15 instead of June 1.

Water resources ministry officials say that India had to contend with 15 more days of data despite logical demands that Beijing should share Brahmaputra historical water flow data, standardise the water measurement levels between the two countries, expand the number of days for giving hydrological data and include Sutlej river, which rises in Tibet, in the new MoU.


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